Thursday, September 23, 2004

Not THAT Advanced in Age . . .

A senior citizen?

I felt the need to blog my response to that one . . as i look at my computer clock right now, i note that it is 11:43 p.m.

And I'm still awake. I've been reading news stories like this one, like this one, and even like this one.

There is some choir news, if any of you are reading this before our performance tomorrow. The administrative superpowers have allowed us one other song besides the Alma Mater tomorrow, so we are doing "See What the End Is Going to Be." Now . . . that could be the new title for the Karai "Alleluia," (after our first performance of the piece) but i'm talking about the spiritual by
Ron Staheli.

As long as i'm responding to previous comments, i'd like to thank Keith Kendrick about the "to whom much is given" compliment. I've found a couple of interesting websites on the phrase, this one discussing the bible version and this one from the speech by J.F. Kennedy.

Wow . . . now it is after midnight and my radio show is about to come on. It seems that tonight they are talking about some guy named Jonathan Goldman (his website: healingsounds), an authority on sound healing, will explain how certain sounds influence physical, mental and spiritual dimensions.

I don't really get into the healing mumbo jumbo aspect of the show. I like the quasi-science things like this and UFO things. Listen to the radio show sometime . . . occasionally crazy and occasionally thought-provoking. Have i identified myself as a nut yet?

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Great Beginnings

"That was one great example of the many great things you will find here at UAB." That's what our university president, Carol Garrison, said about our choir. (at least, that is pretty close to what i heard her say--my memory isn't what it could be)

Do you catch the significance in that? Before this morning, I had never met our president and she had never heard the UAB Concert Choir. In a short 10-minute, 3-song span of time, we "became" one of the great things about UAB in the eyes of the administration.

Now, the people involved in and around our music department already knew that good things were happening in all of our areas. We've known it for some time! Today was an important step in making it real to many other people.

Now . . . a short review from your director about Saturday:

1. Overall . . . fantastic energy, diction and tone. Faces were OK not great . . . we will be working on that for the entire year. Our faces will get better every day (or else I might pull a Menterro on one of you).
2. Pitch fell early in "Praise to the Lord." Leigh (my beautiful wife and outstanding musician-singer) thinks that the women sag a bit in their descending lines of the opening verse. I thought that it happened when sopranos ascend to the word "creation." Both may be correct.
3. Nuance on "Nobody Knows" excellent. You followed me very well and i felt complete freedom to hold, crescendo, emphasize, de-emphasize . . . basically, to do what i wanted to do. Memorizing music gives the conductor that freedom.
4. See What the End is Going to Be . . a very good ending work. Great job. It will get better as we go along. There is a way to make the last page even more exciting and we'll get to that very soon.

The best thing: our performance was musical, exciting, and procured a good image for us.

The worst thing: FAR TOO MANY STUDENTS WERE LATE FOR THE 9:00 REHEARSAL. Believe this: I will not tolerate people being late. It is not who we are and not who we want to be.

And finally . . . the most important thing . . . Remember that we are on the first steps of a long journey. Our next steps will tell us where that journey will end.

Wasn't that poetic? See you Tuesday.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Friday Concert Thoughts . . .

I thought our concert today was excellent and you are to be commended for a tremendous effort. Alabama's teachers were incredibly complimentary of you and it is significant that they rewarded you with a standing ovation. Unless I am mistaken, it was the "immediate" kind of standing ovation and not the kind where people half-heartedly stand to their feet because someone else did.

A few thoughts:

Alleluja: obviously, something happened at the end that noone expected. It's not happened before and we'll fix it before tomorrow!

Ave maris stella: beautiful and haunting. One teacher described it as "angelic" and I agreed.

Praise to the Lord: great. dynamics excellent. diction outstanding.

Nobody Knows: Megan Wicks (Vestavia HS) noted that you had emotion/soul on that one. I thought so too. Nearly everyone commented on Lindsey's beautiful voice. Remind me that we need to be softer on the end of her solo.

See What the End is Going to Be: Everyone loved this one and most thought it was our strongest piece. I thought that we had great dynamics on this one and good diction.

THE GOOD NEWS: Everything gets better after the first concert.
THE BAD NEWS: There is no bad news. So, that's good news, right?

Two more dress pictures

Here are two more dress possibilities.

Possible Dress Picture #1 and Possible Dress Picture #2


Thursday, September 09, 2004

I meant what i said . .

We are much further along than we were at this time last year and we are well on course to accomplish great things. Congratulations on your work so far!

I spoke with Dr. Reynolds today about new dresses for women and we will be moving that direction very soon. The plan is for UAB to get out of the dress business and have the women purchase their own outfit and sell it (eventually). The great part about that is that we get to wear something new, different and (hopefully) better. The thing we need to remember is that the dresses must look good on all body types--not just the models wearing the dresses. I'm sure we'll be looking here for dresses:
and some girls have already indicated an interest in dresses like this one:

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Time Change, Europe, and Good2Great


Good rehearsal yesterday.

Special thanks to Erin, Delia, and Sarah for helping with the outfits.

Some information for you:

Time change: The performance on Saturday, September 11 will begin at 10:00 a.m. and not 9:00 a.m. as previously scheduled. Let's plan on gathering at 9:00 on Saturday morning in the choir room.

Europe trip: I hope to have brochures and information about our planned trip to France next Tuesday, September 14. Get ready!

Remember these determining factors concerning whether we will be an average choir, a very good choir, or a great choir:

1. are you watching me? Scively?
2. are you listening to the instructions/changes/interpretation that i give you in rehearsal and CHANGING WHAT YOU ARE DOING? Sopranos, remember the feeling of meter in Karai Alleluia! It isn't a good use of time if we stop to change something, work it out and practice it, and then the change isn't instituted in the next run through!
3. Look at your music outside of class!

That's it . . . see you in class.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

UAB choirs

I hope I remember to mention this to you on Tuesday. If you haven't seen the Birmingham Botanical Gardens yet, you need to.

Here is their website:

Take time to visit the place. It is beautiful and relaxing and highly recommended.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Greetings, choir (or whoever reads this)

And welcome to my first attempt at "blogging."

I've got several goals for this blog . . . .
  1. My primary intent is to thoroughly reference some of the things that I talk about in rehearsal. I don't like to take alot of our precious rehearsal time to chase rabbits and tell stories even though a certain amount of that is important.
  2. With the "comments" section, you can talk back to me (and discuss with others, of course) about the subjects I bring up.
  3. I hope to use the vast online resources as well as my own webpage to help all of us learn more and reference information to make our music more meaningful to us.
So . . enjoy . . . and give me comments if you wish!